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“Good buy” is an understatement.
5 minutes reading time
Fully wireless earplugs are nearing the end of a long journey. The first plugs were expensive and bad, and now you can buy wireless earplugs for a few hundred dollars. But the quality can vary.
OnePlus has threatened its Nord Buds headphones — and we’re far from agreeing. These earplugs only cost 600kr, which is really good. For the most part.
Everything from the fit of the small ear canals to the battery life and sound quality are better than expected.
The earplugs come in a fairly nice box with rounded corners on the short sides, but tapered edges around the top and well. The box is about a centimeter and a half high and therefore has a fairly obvious pocket-sized effect – although it’s not among the largest we’ve seen. For example, Bose fully wireless earplugs have a charging case larger than these.
The design is simple and straightforward. Our version is in matte black plastic, with the OnePlus logo clearly visible on top of the box. A spring-loaded mechanism and magnets control the “action” of the top cover, and a small light on the front shows you if the battery needs charging or if everything is green.
The OnePlus Buds Pro comes in a slightly similar box, but from experience it can withstand more use before it looks worn out. But then it costs a lot.
The earbuds themselves resemble a slightly odd version of Apple’s AirPods Pro. The stick that protrudes from the ear is not round but flat, short and wide.
The actual head of the plug entering the ear is relatively compact and fits small ears well. I have very small ear canals – a size that can be a challenge even for molded plugs – and my ear canals close Nord Bud surprisingly well. The off-ear pin works great as a break rod when I attach the tampons to the back of the tampon head at the back of the ear, in tension against the ear canal.
There are many different designs for the ears, but this is among the friendliest towards the small ear canals I have come across.
The earplugs are automatically connected to the OnePlus phone, automatically identifying the plugs and giving a call alert when opened next to the mobile phone.
For other phones, you need to connect in a more traditional way, via your phone’s Bluetooth menu. This in and of itself works well enough. What can be a little tricky is figuring out how to reconnect them. Here there is a semi-invisible button in the box that starts the connection procedure. Open the lid, leave the plugs inside and press the button next to the USB connection. Then connect the plugs in the usual way.
For OnePlus phones, the settings are directly in the phone menus, while for other mobile phones and iPhones, the application with the slightly illogical name “HeyMelody” is used to control the settings. There aren’t a lot of settings you need for these things.
You can get the volume settings and control the touch fields on the jacks. There’s not much you can do with touch fields other than the standard functions, but you can turn them on and off, thus choosing whether you want Right, Left, Both, or None as active touch controls.
As for connectivity, it’s a bit strange that auto-detection doesn’t work on other Android mobiles, because the latest OS version supports this for most of the newer headphones.
Let’s start with the obvious. If you pay 3-4 thousand kroner, you often get a better sound than Nord Buds. At least if you choose the right audio product. But the interesting thing, and the good thing about these sockets – is how short the distance to such expensive sockets is.
The recipe seems to be exactly the same as the best Nord phones. A compromise so good that you rarely miss the “luxury” of the most expensive things.
Here you get a phenomenal stereo perspective – one you rarely encounter without paying a bit more for earplugs.
It also happens with rare bass pressure also for earplugs with only one driver, as it happened. Plug-ins with multiple drivers often go a little lower in the basement, but if you had told me these had dual drives, I would have believed you.
Also at the top it looks really good. It’s crisp and cute – considerably more fragile with an Android phone than with an iPhone. But the caps work and are never hidden.
If there’s anything that’s perhaps a little more hidden than the rest here, it’s the middle note. But there’s not much more to say – and it looks mostly as it should be here.
In terms of sound, this is somewhat similar to Sennheiser’s Momentum Wireless series which has taken off its cool suit and is casually working. It is the “type” of sound, with an emphasis on the upper part, but with a greater readiness.
And the aforementioned stereo perspective that makes it sound like I have front-facing speakers, not jacks clogging my ears.
Unlike cheap regular plugs, a fairly great effort has been put into the sound quality during the conversation here. There are multiple microphones on each plug that together smooth out ambient sound during a call.
The solution works well both in gusty winds and in a lot of “general” noise. It wasn’t impossible at all to have the conversation, even with an evil friend from another world.
Occasionally, the algorithms worked overtime and took with them some of the site sounds below as well. But then there was a lot of fuss.
In general, they are well above average for conversations. There are much more expensive earplugs than those that are inferior to this feature.
I try to use a lot of earplugs over the course of a year, and I am picky about the fit, since my ear canals are too small for generic plugs like these. But the OnePlus Nord Buds hits hard on ergonomics by installing it without having to go into the ear canal to sit.
The sound is great, and more than good enough regardless of the phone. But it is connected to the Android phone they wake up already. I plugged in several thousand dollar wired headphones like the audio coil from these chases when they’re playing at their best.
The plugs themselves can withstand moisture, and they can be run around with. It’s also light enough not to fall off during a lot of movement.
It’s very hard to find something to be critical of with a quality product like this. Sockets soon became preferred and were used in front of much more expensive equipment in anticipation of the time to write the test. The result is that it looks a little worn in photos – and in reality. More expensive equipment often withstands wear and tear better, but here we are talking about cosmetic things that are in the pocket charging case. Other than that, the wireless charging of the charging case is the only thing I’m really missing here.
You get better sockets if you spend a lot of money. But again, one of Nord’s products makes me wonder if I really need it?
Noise reduction and more compact package
OnePlus Buds Pro
For twice the price, you can buy the OnePlus Buds Pro. Then you get a package that is better designed and can withstand more wear. There is also active noise reduction for playing music in the sockets and the charging case fits better in the pocket. The audio profile remains roughly the same – fairly balanced with clear, present highs, without issues with blocking deliveries.
Some of the best earplugs
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 costs five times as much as the Nord Buds, so it’s an excellent alternative. Or maybe not. But in this chapter you should be looking at whether you want much better sound than Nord Buds offers. You also get noise reduction and a “Mercedes star” from Sennheiser on the hood, a noble-sounding manufacturer. Like both other options, the Momentum True Wireless 3 has wireless charging, so it can only be placed on the back of a phone with wireless charging and its power without a cable.
Comfortable plugs with superior cushioning
If we roll a good distance up the price ladder, we’ll find Sony’s WF1000XM4. The plugs are designed with so-called “memory foam” toward the ear canals. Like the OnePlus Nord Buds, they shouldn’t be pushed into the brain, but instead wrapped in place inside the eardrum. A little extra pressure on the tampon compresses the foam, which fills and seals the ear canal. Although they are actually much larger than Nord Buds, they may be worth a try for those of you with narrow ears. In terms of sound, Sony is more “relaxed”, and without high fidelity sound. On the other hand, they are very comfortable listening to them for a very long time.
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